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Tue, 09.04.1866

Alfred Cralle, Inventor born

Alfred Cralle

*Alfred Cralle was born on this date in 1866. He was a Black businessman and inventor.

Alfred L. Cralle was born in Kenbridge, Lunenburg County, Virginia, just after the end of the American Civil War. He attended local schools and worked with his father in the carpentry trade as a young man, becoming interested in mechanics. Cralle went to Washington, D.C., and attended Wayland Seminary, one of several schools founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society to help educate Blacks after the American Civil War.

He settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he first served as a drug store and hotel porter. Alfred noticed that servers at the hotel had trouble with ice cream sticking to serving spoons, and he developed an ice cream scoop. On June 10, 1896, Alfred applied for a patent. He was awarded patent 576,395 on February 2, 1897.

The patented "Ice Cream Mold and Disher" was an ice cream scoop with a built-in scraper for one-handed operation. Cralle's functional design is in modern ice cream scoops. He later became a general manager for the Afro-American Financial, Accumulating, Merchandise, and Business Association.

Alfred Cralle died from tuberculosis on May 6, 1919, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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